Is open source the right way to bring innovation to market?

Terracotta offers a server which eliminates most trips to your database, which for Web applications saves a ton of compute time.

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Is open source now the right way to bring truly innovative ideas to market?

Terracotta CEO Amit Pankey Pandey thinks so.

Pankey told ZDNet  "In the last year we've seen our market penetration go up by more than an order of magnitude.We attribute a lot of that to open source."

Terracotta offers a server which eliminates most trips to your database, which for Web applications saves a ton of compute time, Pankey Pandey said.

"We store objects in a shared memory, not a relational format," he explained. "We're speaking the same languages as the Java applications and can go faster."

But this is not a simple sale, he added.

"We're trying to convince the world that for new Web-based applications they should not use the database as a scaling point, that they should use the Terracotta server. We're a more efective way to scale your applications.

"The database is a statement of record. If you're manipulating a shopping cart you shouldn't be using the database for that.

"We are not advocating the replacement of the database...the hidden word there is yet," he added.

"We provide a high level of availability. You can store it where you want. But we don't offer query languages and the ability to run a search showing where you were on a site for the last 4 years so you can market."

With a Terracotta server, those who need a database can use a simpler, less expensive one, like MySQL, rather than switching to Oracle or IBM's DB2.

Trouble is, Pankey  Pandey said, "People are suspicious of a sales pitch. This makes the sales and marketing effort quite large."

With the move to open source, many people convince themselves, he said, but Terracotta retains a dedicated sales team.  "We go to Java One. We put out white papers. We get leads. And we mine those leads."

Terracotta's innovative design is behind its slightly askew license, which it calls the Terracotta Public License.

It's basically an attribution license, like one the OSI approved last year, but while Terracotta helped draft that license it has not yet made a commitment to it, Pankey Pandey said.

"We had BEA and IBM all over our site. We had so many downloads from there we were nervous about our IP. So we made sure our license protected us from large vendors." Just like Terracotta can protect you from large databases.

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